Patterson 'Excited' To Get Started

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, February 19, 2006

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 18 -- By Saturday afternoon, five Baltimore Orioles had arrived early for spring training, and the most prominent, new center fielder Corey Patterson, only hoped he would be allowed to practice. Patterson arrived early to work out, but was told that team policy forbade him to do so until he passed a physical. After a disastrous 2005 season with the Chicago Cubs, which included a .215 batting average, Patterson was hoping for some early work.

"I'm definitely excited to be here," Patterson said.

Patterson said he will change his approach in spring training. His struggles this past season had left him asking everyone for suggestions, and he tried every one of them.

"Everyone meant well," Patterson said. "But sometimes you have to do your own thing. I don't point any fingers or say it was anybody's fault. I blame myself. You have to mentally be yourself. You have to be consistent. When you start changing, things go badly."

Patterson is penciled in as the team's starting center fielder, though a strong spring by Luis Matos or Nick Markakis could change those plans.

Daily Reminder

During simulated batting practice, reliever Ricky Bottalico hit a ball off the wall against starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera. That begged the question of when Bottalico last had a major league hit.

The reliever smiled and simply said, "Ask [John] Parrish," referring to the Orioles lefty.

Parrish sheepishly smiled when told of Bottalico's remark. On June 16, 2001, Bottalico, then with Philadelphia, doubled against Parrish in the eighth inning of the Phillies' 14-6 win. Considering Bottalico is left-handed, as is Parrish, that hit was as unlikely as it was memorable.

"I'm supposed to have the advantage," Parrish said of the lefty-lefty matchup. "I got ragged on quite a bit. He got a pretty good cut on it. It ain't happening again."

Lopez Works at First

Javy Lopez continued to take ground balls at first base.

"Yesterday was a lot smoother," Lopez said. "Today I had quite a few mistakes -- but minor ones. Every day I learn a little more. Everyday is something new."

Manager Sam Perlozzo praised Lopez, who in addition to his work at first base, continues to work with the catchers. Perlozzo also said if Lopez continues to progress at first base, the team will likely carry a third catcher. . . .

The other early arrivals on Saturday were Markakis, outfielder Jeff Fiorentino and minor league free agent Fernando Tatis. Utility player David Newhan arrived Friday.

Trade The Orioles acquired 1B Andy Tracy from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for a player to be named. Tracy likely will play for Class AAA Ottawa.

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